The Republicans have it right this time.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (along with scores of other government-funded programs) is out of control. The recent vote to slash $40 billion in food stamp aid has been a long time coming.
The bill, said Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., “eliminates loopholes, ensures work requirements, and puts us on a fiscally responsible path.”
On the other side of the aisle stands Jackie Speier, the Democrat from California, who claimed she is a member of the “least productive Congress in the history of this country.”
Speier said that she is ashamed of that, adding “when a government becomes a government in spite of the people, then who are we really serving?”
I have the answer to that question.
You are serving the taxpayers, who for many years now — many more than I care to count — have been doling out their hard-earned dollars to the government. The government, in turn, is doling out our money to those who are taking advantage of the system.
According to recent statistics, the number of non-citizens on food stamps has quadrupled since 2001 from 425,000 to 1.6 million. And if that doesn’t wake you up, consider that in 2012, Massachusetts and New York administered food stamps to 2,000 dead people.
The food stamp program is just one of many examples of government programs gone awry.
If you are wondering why your paychecks are shrinking and more importantly, where your money is going, I invite you to visit USA.spending.gov.
The website, created (oddly enough) by the government, lists all agencies and groups receiving tax dollars for the present fiscal year.
Along with funding the Department of Homeland Security ($1.2 million), the National Science Foundation ($437 million), and the Smithsonian Institution ($350.4 million), our tax dollars support, get this, the government accountability office ($5.6 million).
The government accountability office?
Are you kidding me?
After the recent government shutdown shenanigans via members of Congress and the Senate, I am wondering if it would be prudent for the folks working in the government accountability office to intercede and remedy the reprehensible situation in which we find ourselves.
When pondering the fate of my tax dollars, I often think about Abraham Lincoln: “You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling the wage payer down. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence. You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.”
Where is Abraham Lincoln when you need him?
Soon, it really will not matter, though, will it?
Soon it will not matter if loopholes are eliminated, because the fiscally responsible path will have been covered with the debris of combative voices, arrogance, and hardened hearts.
Soon it will not matter if this Congress is the least productive Congress in the history of this country, because the country will have become a mere shadow of its former self.
The United States of America, sadly enough, is the laughingstock of the world. While members of Congress and the Senate act like spoiled children pushing one another off the monkey bars on the playground, our taxpayer dollars are being frittered away on every level and with great rapidity.
Meanwhile, the president, the man in charge of what once was the greatest nation in the world, refuses to “negotiate.”
God help us.
Alvia Lewis Frey is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.